how to boost your productivity in the gym

You’ve done the hard work by making it into the gym at the end of a long day. But now you can’t seem to switch your brain from work mode into work-out mode! There are a tonne of tips and tricks to help you become more productive in the gym, in fact, we have 20 of them to share with you today 🙂

It’s no secret that consistent exercise can improve your focus, boost your energy and help you to be less affected by stress. These life/gym hacks will compound that motivation and make sure you are staying on top of your health, every day.

Getting Started

1. Plan Ahead, and Stick to Your Program!

If you’ve been in the gym for a while you’ll already know the value of a proper training program or online trainer. By taking out the guesswork of what to train and how you can save yourself precious time and become more productive in the gym.

2. Avoid Rush Hour- in and Out of the Gym

If there have been any positives from 2020, it’s that most people now work and live on a different schedule. This means that the amount of people in the gym is more spread out during the day, but it’s still a good idea to avoid rush hour if you can! That means on the way to the gym, as well as in it. There’s no point turning up to train if you’re mentally exhausted from the drive there. Similarly, getting your workout done in a timely manner can be difficult if the gym is full, so if you can- avoid rush hour!

3. Warming up Is the First Step to Being Productive in the Gym

It isn’t a secret- warming up matters. Sure, it takes up a bit more time. But time is nothing compared to the days of agony you’ll feel if you pull a muscle or tweak your back. Be sure to properly target the muscles you plan to use that day, whether it’s stretching, light-weight sets or cardio.

4. Turn off the Phone/Put It on Airplane Mode

Yes yes we know, you need your phone for music or for the time. But if that also means you check your Instagram, or reply to a few work emails while you’re on the treadmill you aren’t truly present.

Let’s be real though- turning the phone off is usually out of the question, so here are the simplest ways to beat your phone addiction and keep it away from your body (if you don’t have a smartwatch):

  • Use Bluetooth headphones
  • Turn your phone to aeroplane mode
  • Turn your phone to ‘do not disturb.’ You can even customise the message people receive so they know you’re in the gym and training hard!
  • All gyms have clocks on the wall. You can use these just as effectively as the timer on your phone to keep track of your sets and rest.

5. Be Present to Build That Mind/Muscle Connection

Once you’ve managed to put down the phone or remove its attachment, it’s time to be present. Work on your diaphragmatic breathing, pause and squeeze at the top and bottom of each rep and really work on building your focus and awareness. This will not only help you to get more from every rep, but your workouts will also flow better and you’ll see fewer injuries as you learn to listen to your body more.

In the Gym

6. Do Workouts That You Actually Enjoy!

Of course, you’re supposed to push yourself, and breaking through those mental and physical barriers can be tough. But you either need to start with the workouts and types of training you love to do or learn to love the challenge of the ones you don’t! Trust us, when you enjoy the workouts and beat your resistance, you’ll be wayyyy more productive in the gym!

7. Compound Movements

If you really want to step up your game and be more productive in the gym, use movements and lifts that target a range of muscles and motions. Squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, bench-press, really any movement that activates more than one muscle group and engages your core.

8. Super Set to Supercharge Your Gym Productivity

Short on time? Or just want to push your body a little further? Minimise your rest periods and try a few supersets! These can target a range of muscle groups, or you might do 2-3 exercises which target the same ones. For example:

  • Barbell bench press x 12
  • Incline pushups x 10
  • Cable fly x 8
  • 1-minute rest

woman doing squats9. Time Your Rest Periods

You don’t always have to race around the gym to be more productive, but it is a good idea to actually time your rest periods. The rest time will depend on your workout, but it is very easy to be distracted in the 60-90 seconds between sets. Over the course of a workout lengthy (and often unnecessary) rest periods could keep you in the gym for half an hour longer than you intended. Again, use the wall clocks to time your rest periods if you’re trying to keep away from the phone!

10. Be Flexible With Your Routine

I know we just said to stick to your program, but that doesn’t mean you have to do every exercise in the exact order and on the same machines you use every week. If the gym is busy, or the machine you need is occupied- use something else! You’ll still target the same muscle groups, and expand your knowledge of the gym at the same time so you can get in and out as quick as possible.

11. Track Your Workout

One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re always competing against yourself is to track your workout. Usually, this means how many reps and sets, what weight you used etc… But if we add a time element to the mix, you’ll know how quickly you managed to get through it last time! Set a consistent time to finish- one that still lets you complete the routine safely- and see if you can hit it each week.

12. Use an in-Person or Online Personal Trainer

Want to make tracking your workout easier? Or simply don’t have the experience to know which exercises to do, when? The studies have consistently and conclusively proved that using a personal trainer will lead to the best results. If you would like help in maximising your productivity and results in the gym, reach out and connect with our team.

If you aren’t in Vancouver or would prefer to train on your own- you can use our online personal training app! With prices and packages to suit everyone, the Turnfit app is a personal trainer in your pocket, with fully supported coaching, nutrition plans, mindful practices and community groups. For more info on either service reach out and connect with us.

13. Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Not everyone will go for an HRM, but they can be a huge motivator to let you know whether you’re in the fat-burning zone and actually getting the most from your time in the gym. These days you don’t need straps and chest monitors, a Fitbit or smartwatch will have you covered.

14. Join a Class!

One of the quickest ways to become more productive in the gym is to take advantage of their classes. You’ll take the thinking out of the equation, and it’s much harder to stop and rest when everybody else is still going. Not to mention they can be a really fun way to interact with other members of the gym, and find an accountability buddy.

15. Train With a Friend (as Long as They’re Serious!)

Training with a friend or accountability buddy can be a great way to motivate each other and push through a workout. BUT- it does come with a caveat. You have to choose someone who is as eager as you are to make progress on their health and wellness journey. If you train with someone who just loves a chat you’ll end up further from your goal of becoming more productive in the gym.

Rest, Recovery and Planning

16. Active Rest and Recovery Days

To really maximise results and productivity in the gym, you need to keep your body in good order. That means planning recovery days into your routine, making sure you give your muscles time to rest and keep your mind stimulated with other activities. Active rest days might involve just going for a long walk, or doing some yoga. Recovery days you might choose to do nothing at all, but these are the days to get your meal prep done!

17. Meal Prep

For a lot of people, productivity in the gym comes down to energy. Our body’s get their energy from food! Using your rest and recovery days to prepare some healthy meals makes it much easier to stay on track when you’re running out of time during the week. If you aren’t a whizz in the kitchen, try a healthy meal delivery service like Movement Food.

Movement food delivers fresh healthy meals to you

Movement food delivers fresh healthy meals to you

18. Supplements

Supplements are often misunderstood in the health and fitness world. Not everyone needs to be stacking 14 products just to get results, and not all supplements need to be ingested. But they can be a big help when it comes to rest and recovery and could be as simple as a multi-vitamin or adding some protein to your diet. You can find a list of Turnfit approved supplements here, and if you want more advice on how to use supplements to make you more productive in the gym- give us a call!

19. Set Goals, and Re-Evaluate Them Every 8 Weeks

One of the best ways to be more productive in the gym is to keep track of your goals, measure them, and re-evaluate them often. Whether this is to complete 10 pull-ups in a row, or lose X pounds, if you don’t have something specific to aim for it’s easy to move slowly.

20. Change up Your Program!

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re bored, and one surefire way to lose interest is to repeat the same exercises time and time again. Your body is also more likely to plateau, and it can be very un-motivating when you feel like you aren’t making progress.

We recommend that change up your program every 8-12 weeks or work with your personal trainer to keep things fresh. This keeps your mind occupied and your body challenged, and helps to push through those mental and physical barriers that can slow you down in the gym!

We hope you can implement some or all of these tips to maximise your workouts and become more productive in the gym. If you need any advice on your health and wellness journey, nutritional consulting, or are looking for a qualified and professional personal trainer to help take things to the next level- reach out and connect with us!

About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2020 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver.

It’s our mission to help you to build the skills and mindset it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life. For more information, please visit, join our communities on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our Youtube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull, TurnFit Personal Trainers LTD


Author TurnFit

TurnFit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day. With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver for the 5th year in a row. Every trainer at TurnFit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life. We look forward to hearing from you! -David Turnbull

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